10 Reasons Why Your Hair Hasn’t Gotten Longer

For as long as I can remember I’ve heard that black hair and relaxed hair can’t grow long. Black and relaxed hair can only get to a certain length. The crazy thing is my hair has typically been on the longer side. Outside of a few years where I experienced some serious breakage I’ve been able to grow my relaxed hair too and past my shoulders. So I was told that I was the exception that I had “good hair” because my hair grew longer.

And being young and naive when it came to hair care I accepted that. But boy was I wrong! While genetics does play a role in how our hair grows it’s not the sole way to get long hair.

10 Reasons Why Your Hair Hasn’t Gotten Longer | A Relaxed Gal

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Outside of some medical issues, everyone’s hair grows. So if you find that your hair never looks longer and has stayed the same length even though you haven’t trimmed or cut it then you most likely have hair breakage. If your ends are breaking off it can give the illusion that your hair isn’t growing because you’re losing as much as you’re gaining.

What is causing your hair to break so you can’t retain any length? It could be some or all of these 10 things.

1. Dry hair

When our hair is dry it’s very fragile making it prone to breakage. I’ve found that my ends tend to dry out the quickest, most likely because they are the oldest part of my hair. My ends are also where I tend to see breakage. So keeping my hair, especially my ends, moisturized can help stop that breakage and help me retain length.

What you can do

Use sulfate-free shampoos which are gentler on your hair and don’t strip it of all moisture like sulfate shampoos tend to.

Deep condition on the regular. At least every time you wash your hair.

Consistently moisturize your hair using a moisturizing leave-in conditioner and a natural oil to seal in the moisture.

Trade in your cotton pillowcase for a satin one.

2. Not using protein

Just like hair needs moisture it also needs protein. All of the things we do to our hair such as styling, using chemicals can weaken our hair making it more prone to breakage. Including some protein in your hair regimen can add strength back to your hair.

What you can do

Do a hard protein treatment. The one that I use is the Aphogee Two-step Protein Treatment. You can also use leave-in conditioners and deep conditioners that have some protein ingredients.

3. Using the wrong hair tools and accessories

Some of the hair damage I’ve had over the years is due to the tools and accessories I used on my hair. In the past, I used combs that pulled out my hair and created breakage. Even more recently I was using elastic hair ties that also pulled out my hair and caused some breakage.

When it comes down to it, anything we use to style or care for our hair should cause little to no breakage.

What you can do

Use wide-tooth combs like the Hercules Sagemann seamless comb.

Wear satin scrunchies for your buns and ponytails instead of elastic hair bands which tend to pull out hair.

Make sure all your hairpins have the bulb on the end. Hairpins without the bulb can literally cut your hair.

4. Wearing damaging hairstyles

It’s totally possible. Some of the hairstyles we wear can damage our hair so much that they do more harm than good. These types of styles include ones that don’t protect our ends, put too much tension on our hair, or can pull out our hair. They can damage our hair and scalp to the point that traction alopecia develops and edges disappear.

What you can do

Wear styles that don’t need to be re-done every day like buns, braids, wigs, and weaves.

Wear your hair in a style that keeps your ends from brushing on your clothes.

Avoid gluing wigs to your scalp.

5. Too much manipulation

When it comes to our hair we can’t get away from manipulating it. To style it, wash it, pretty much care for it requires some level of manipulation. Just like over-styling, messing with our hair or being rough with it is a no-no. Both can weaken your hair and cause dryness, frizziness, and breakage.

What you can do

Keep your hands out of your hair as much as possible.

Take your time and be gentle when detangling your hair.

Use your fingers more and a comb less.

Use a satin nightcap when you go to sleep which keeps your hair protected and from moving around too much at night.

6. Not getting trims

Getting your hair trimmed may seem like it would hurt hair growth versus helping it. The honest truth is it can if you trim too much, but getting regular trims can remove split ends before they damage your hair. Once a split end gets out of hand and travels up your hair strand you need more than a trim, you need a cut negating all of the hair growth you’ve experienced.

What you can do

Regularly trim your hair, about every 3-4 months.

Don’t trim too often.

If you see a split end don’t hang on to it, trim it off.

7. Overprocessing

For those of us with relaxers, overprocessed hair can be a huge reason why hair growth seems so elusive. There are a few ways this can happen.

One way is when chemicals aren’t applied properly to your hair. With relaxers, this happens when hair that was previously relaxed is relaxed again and again. It can also happen when the relaxer is left on for too long.

Another way to overprocess hair is when too many chemicals are applied to your hair. Coloring relaxed hair or vice versa can cause a lot of damage. Especially when a professional isn’t involved in the application process.

What you can do

Stretch your relaxer longer than 6 weeks. I go at least 12 weeks between my relaxers.

Only relax new growth so you aren’t relaxing hair that is already relaxed.

Stop coloring your hair. The chemicals used in hair color, especially permanent color can damage your hair if not applied properly.

Only do one - hair color or relaxer.

Use a well-trained stylist to do your relaxer touch-ups and hair coloring. A good stylist can help make sure the chemicals are properly applied.

8. Poor diet

Yep, what you eat and drink can impact how healthy your hair is when it grows out of your scalp. So if your hair isn’t in a healthy state from the start then it’s more prone to damage and breakage.

What you can do

Drink lots of water so you’re hydrated from the inside out.

Eat foods that have high levels of protein, vitamins, iron, and fatty acids.

9. Too much heat

Direct heat from these heat styling tools like blow dryers, curling irons, and flat irons can break down our hair strands weakening them and drying out your hair making it more prone to breakage.

What you can do

Use blow dryers, curling irons, and flat irons less or not all.

If you do use a heat styling tool make sure you use a heat protectant like the Silk Elements MegaSilk Olive Heat Protectant Spray or Mielle Mongongo Oil Thermal & Heat Protectant Spray.

10. Using the wrong hair products

Just because your favorite blogger or vlogger using a particular product and sees good results doesn’t mean you’ll have the same results. What works on their hair may not work on yours.

If you use the wrong products on your hair you won’t see your hair thrive and achieve a healthy state which helps it retain length.

What you can do

Strategically pick your hair products based on your hair type and hair needs/issues.

Keep using products that work for your hair.

Figure out what ingredients your hair does and doesn’t like.


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